Check with your school, recreation department and see if they run a ski and snowboard program

Downhill skiing and snowboarding, aka “snow sports”, offer both long and short term health benefits for the body and mind of those who participate. And the bonus of snow sports is that all of this “healthiness and fitness” is disguised in fun and adventure.

In the short term, skiing and snowboarding improve you physical health in several ways.  Every time you put on your equipment and head to the lift and then down the mountain you build muscle mass, real important muscles like quads, hamstrings, calves and the essential core muscles.  Maneuvering through the snow also requires balance and agility, two skills used when we walk, run, ride bicycles, play soccer, lacrosse, basketball and almost any sport activity. Snow sports also deliver significant calorie burning potential.  When you shiver you are burning calories; now start moving in the cold weather and you’re really getting ahead of the “calorie equation”. 

You get it; snow sports can enhance our physical well-being.

But a happy life is a combination of physical and mental health and on the psychological front snow sports provide the benefits. When you engage in skiing and snowboading, endorphins and adrenaline are released into the blood stream, elevating mood and providing an overall sense of well-being and contentment. Exercising outdoors also helps to reduce anxiety, so snow sports can lower stress levels. 

Watch a bunch of skiers and snowboarders coming down a snowy trail; I bet you won’t see a sad face in the crowd.

Skiing and snowboarding are part of a very exclusive group of sports/recreation that many sports do not share.  Young children and teenagers ski and board, “millennials” age 18 to 34 enjoy the mountain experience, families love to travel to a ski area to enjoy quality time together and retirees flock to ski/snowboard centers especially midweek days, to get their weekly dose of fun and nourishing exercise. Snow sports offer a rare opportunity to enjoy the great out-of-doors, in a healthy and exciting atmosphere from childhood through our senior days.  Snow sports define “lifetime” sport and recreation.

Convinced? Want to get involved? Many communities offer “learn to” opportunities through programs connected to local ski areas.  Many municipal recreation departments and schools have clubs that make getting involved easy and affordable.  Check with these organizations and find out what they have to offer in winter programming. If you can’t find an existing club, start your own “family club. We all know two or three other families who would love to try the idea. 

Shawnee Mountain Ski Area in the Pocono Mountains has a terrific multi-trip program that’s worth checking out.  Their club program is reasonably priced and will get you and your family out on the mountain winter to start benefitting from the riches of health that snow sports offers. 

Take the first step because it’s all “downhill” from there.

Article Coutesy of Shawnee Mountain Ski Area

I-80 PA Exit 309 / GPS: 401 Hollow Rd., East Stroudsburg, PA 18356